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Make sure you keep warm and keep well this winter

Communities / Sat 7th Dec 2013 am31 10:10am

AS winter arrives, and the mercury drops, Essex County Council is reminding residents that it’s really important for everyone to keep warm so that they can keep well.

It’s been estimated that for every degree change in the average weather temperature, there is a rise or fall in the number of deaths by approximately 8,0001. This is why it’s vital people keep warm. Of these excess winter deaths, a third are attributable to respiratory disease and over half to cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and strokes.2

Last winter there were an estimated 31,100 avoidable excess deaths across England and Wales in winter*. Some of the reasons for these include slips and falls on icy ground where fractured and broken bones led to further complications such as blood clots and pressure sores. Those most at risk include:

Older age, especially those over 75 years old
People living on their own who are socially isolated
People with a chronic and severe illness; such as heart conditions, circulatory disease, asthma, depression and anxiety, diabetes and arthritis
Children under the age of five
Homeless people/street sleepers
People who are fuel poor or living in deprived circumstances

One of the best ways of keeping well during winter is to stay warm. Here are five top tips to keep your home warm, keep on top of your bills, and keep healthy. Some may seem obvious, but they could help you to stay warmer and maintain good health over the coming weeks.

Heat your home well

By setting your heating to the right temperature (between 18-21ºC) you can still keep your home warm and lower your bills. If you feel cold at night, use a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but never use both together. It is especially important if you’re at home all day.

Get financial support

There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. It’s worthwhile claiming all of the benefits you are entitled to. Find out more by visiting this section of the gov.uk website.

Eat well and have plenty of fluids

Food and water are vital sources of energy, and they help keep your body warm. Try to make sure you and your family have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.

Get a flu jab

You can get free flu jabs to protect against seasonal flu from your GP if you are over 65, pregnant, or have a long-term condition.

Look after yourself and others

On really cold days, if you do need to go out, remember to wrap up warm and take care on slippery surfaces. If you have an older neighbour or relative, look out for them during the winter to make sure they are safe and well. A quick visit or phone call could make all the difference.

Essex County Councillor, Ann Naylor, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said:

“With a little preparation we can help ourselves, our families and vulnerable friends and neighbours stay healthy, safe and comfortable as possible this winter. As well as following our five top tips it is advisable that you ensure you have a home first aid kit, a well-stocked medicine cabinet, basic food items, battery operated torch and a fully charged mobile phone in case of a power cut.”

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